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Six arrested in weekend prostitution sting

by
Jonah Tysver
Ethayaraja Shanmugasundaram
Keith Olejniczak
Jeff Ryta
Jonah Tysver

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Another sting operation has caught six more people trying to engage in prostitution.

Wausau Police Lieutenant Matthew Barnes says the operation took place over the weekend with undercover cops at a Wausau hotel. He says they placed fake ads online at backpage.com, and it didn’t take long to get a response.  “We put advertisements online, and as soon as they went live online, it took five to ten minutes. Then we started getting calls and texts from individuals throughout central Wisconsin seeking to meet up with them.”

Wausau Police arrested four people in January for prostitution. The six men arrested this time were all responding to the ads to meet women for companionship.  “As long as that issue persists, we will continue to conduct these investigations in an attempt to reduce the demand. If there’s no demand for prostitutes in the area, there won’t be any prostitution.”

The men arrested are 35-year-old Keith Olejniczak, 29-year-old Adam Kochan, 25-year-old Jonah Tysver, 41-year-old James Hisel, 48-year-old Jeff Ryta, and 35-year-old Ethayaraja Shanmugasundaram.

Barnes says hopefully, these series of arrests will convince people that taking part in prostitution isn’t worth the risk.  “Our hope is that people get wise, and they recognize the negative consequences to our community because of this, and they would choose not to do it, but if it takes us creating an additional risk for them by investigating these to curb that behavior, that’s definitely something that we’re going to continue to do.”

Barnes says it is not a victimless crime, as many women do this to support drug habits, or are subjected to physical abuse by pimps if they don’t bring in enough money.

Charges have not been filed against the six men as of Monday night.

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